A community-based survey of abdominal pain prevalence, characteristics, and health care use among children.Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Oct; 7(10):1062-8.CG
BACKGROUND & AIMS
Abdominal pain is a common clinical problem among children and adolescents and an important public health problem. The German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents was performed to assess children's health and living conditions in a representative population sample. By using data collected from this survey, we evaluated the prevalence and characteristics of abdominal pain and assessed health care use.
The community-based survey was carried out from May 2003 to May 2006 among children and adolescents living in Germany. Questionnaires were given to adolescents (age, 11-17 y; n = 7697) and parents of children (age, 3-10 y; n = 7544).
Abdominal pain causes the greatest impairment to children (32.9%). The 3-month prevalence rates decreased with age (39.8% in children, 41.8% [corrected] in adolescents; P < .001), girls reported abdominal pain significantly more often than boys (children: 71.5% vs 67.1%; P = .002; adolescents: 65.3% vs 53.2%; P < .001). Migrant adolescents were affected significantly more often by abdominal pain than locals (66.9% vs 58.0%; P < .001). More than half (51.6%) of the children and 38.5% of the adolescents visited a doctor because of abdominal pain; 22.6% and 39.2%, respectively, used medication for abdominal pain. Pain characteristics were influenced by age, sex, and socioeconomic status in a complex fashion.
High levels of prevalence and health care use reveal that abdominal pain is an important public health problem in children and adolescents. Abdominal pain in children is influenced by a variety of biopsychosocial factors.